About Starlight Coast
Who says the romance of rail travel is dead? It isn’t if you save up your pennies and travel on Amtrak’s Coast Starlight service, connecting Seattle’s King Street Station with Union Station in Los Angeles via Portland, Eugene-Springfield, Klamath Falls, Sacramento, Oakland, the San Francisco Bay area, Salinas and Santa Barbara. Along the 2,216 km (1,377 mi) route, the train passes through some truly spectacular West Coast scenery encompassing virgin forests, snow-capped mountains, lush valleys…and long stretches of fabulous and unspoiled Pacific coastline. No wonder it’s rated as one of the world’s most beautiful rail journeys. Amtrak gives every passenger a Route Guide that details what to look out for along the way and includes photo symbols indicating the most photogenic spots.
To take full advantage of all that natural beauty, the train uses double-decker Superliner rolling stock, including a Sightseer Lounge car with floor-to-ceiling windows. If you did indeed accumulate those pennies, you can travel in pampered luxury in the first-class Pacific Parlour Lounge car, with sleeping berths, a library, wine tasting, movie theatre and complimentary drinks. For little people, there’s a Kiddie car packed with a variety of distractions. There is a Dining Car for full meals and Café Car for those who want their sightseeing with snacks. To complete the unique ensemble, luggage travels in a Heritage Baggage Car and the train is hauled by Amtrak’s mighty Genesis series locomotives.
A gentle word of warning – the Coast Starlight has sometimes arrived up to eleven hours late, though timekeeping has recently improved dramatically.
Best Highlights of Starlights Coast
Before embarking, visit Seattle’s popular landmark Space Needle, built for the 1962 World’s Fair, informative on-board talks by guides from the Klondike Gold Rush National
Historical Park between Seattle and Portland, then Klamath Falls and Eugene.
A break in Paso Robles, with dozens of wineries to tour…before relaxing in the rejuvenating waters of natural hot springs.
What you should know:
The route has sometimes been disrupted by mudslides, so it’s wise to check that there are no problems before planning a trip